BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – When a person comes home to find that an unwelcomed stranger has trespassed and stolen valuable items, they may feel devastated and helpless.

They might also wonder if there were any steps that could have been taken to prevent the burglary.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Although it is impossible to make a building completely immune to burglary, preventive measures can deter most burglaries by making it difficult for the burglar to enter the building.”

A few practical suggestions that may reduce the likelihood of a home burglary are listed below:

#1 Keep your home well-lit

Experts often point out that when criminals are looking for a home to take advantage of, they’re typically drawn to homes that are dark and appear to be empty.

To make sure your dwelling doesn’t fall into this category, keep your yard well-lit and leave a few interior lights on even if you’re not at home. When you’re away, it may also be helpful to turn on a radio or television to make it sound like someone is home.

#2 Valuables should not be visible

While it may be tempting to leave curtains open to let sunlight in and maybe show up a beautiful painting and the new furniture set that you’re proud of, experts say this is not a good idea. Valuables that draw the attention of thieves, should not be on display.

This includes expensive outdoor equipment such as grills, riding mowers, and even high-end cars. It may be best to keep these items in a garage or if possible, in a locked storage unit on your property.

#3 Secure all windows and doors

While it’s common knowledge that windows and doors should be kept closed and locked, it can be easy to forget about that one door with the weak frame or a broken window that needs to be fixed. The U.S. Department of Justice advises, “Burglars generally break into doors and windows. Doors which are unlocked, have weak frames, have outside door hinges, or have glass are particularly easy to enter. These doors should be repaired, reinforced, or replaced.”

It goes on to say, “Entrance doors should be solid wood or metal and should have peepholes. Persons moving into a new home or apartment should change all cylinders and install all new locks. Deadbolt locks should be used. Securing windows will also deter burglars, since most burglars will not break glass to enter due to the noise involved.”

#4 Don’t keep a key under a potted plant

For those of us who have a tendency to lose our keys or get locked out of our own homes on a monthly basis, keeping a hidden key somewhere outside, near the front door may seem like a saving grace.

Unfortunately, the key may not be as hidden as we think.

Safehome.org states, “The reality is that criminals are aware of this practice and will often search for a hidden key before attempting another way into your home. It is also common for burglars to watch the activity around the homes they are casing. If they are watching your home to see whether or not it is a house that they want to break into, they may notice the key and exactly where you have placed it.”

#5 Invest in a home security system

The purchase of a reliable home security system may make a dent in the bank account, but it may be the lesser of two evils when it comes to protecting one’s home from burglaries. These systems are often loud enough to scare away thieves and quick in alerting authorities to the situation.

#6 Keep expensive items in a safe

Experts say that one of the best ways to keep jewelry, guns, cash, and other valuables secure is to store them in a large safe.

Hopefully, by following the suggestions above, you’ll be able to ward off potential burglaries.